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Party leaders vow to hold general election TV debates with or without PM David Cameron

The party leaders of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Ukip have written to Prime Minister David Cameron informing him they will push ahead with televised general election debates with or without him.

Earlier this week, David Cameron ducked the debates citing its exclusion of the Greens, with Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage jointly dubbing the decision as “unacceptable”.

Each party sent co-ordinated latters to 10 Downing Street claiming it would be a blow to democracy if the debates were canned due to the “political self-interest” of Cameron. Instead, the parties state that an empty podium should be erected for the broadcast if the prime minister were to stick to his guns.

According to the Telegraph, the letters read: “I believe it would be a major setback to our democratic processes if these debates were not repeated in 2015 because of one politician's unwillingness to participate.

“I hope you will agree that the decision as to who should take part in the televised debates should not be in the hands of any party leader, each of whom inevitably has their own political interests to defend. It must be a decision independently and objectively arrived at.”

It concluded: "Therefore, if you are unwilling to reconsider, the three party leaders who have committed to participate will ask the broadcasters to press ahead with the debates and provide an empty podium should you have a last minute change of heart."

In response to Cameron’s reluctance to enter the debate, The Telegraph, the Guardian and YouTube have offered to co-host a five-party general election online debate earlier this week.